“My aim is to rekindle interest in David Lewis’s (1983) infamous but neglected Mixed Theory of mental states. The Mixed Theory is a mix of physicalism and functionalism designed to capture the intuitions that both Martians and abnormal human Madmen can be in pain. The Mixed Theory is widely derided. But I offer a new development of the Mixed Theory immune to its most prominent objections.”
If you enjoyed the new opera “What’s Eating You“, which was about two people and all the microbes in and on them, you will (probably) enjoy this newly published study. It’s about people, their microbes, and who eats whom:
“Far more attention has been paid to the microbes in our feces than the microbes in our food…. Little is known about the effects of ingested microbial communities that are present in typical American diets, and even the basic questions of which microbes, how many of them, and how much they vary from diet to diet and meal to meal, have not been answered.
“We characterized the microbiota of three different dietary patterns in order to estimate: the average total amount of daily microbes ingested via food and beverages, and their composition in three daily meal plans representing three different dietary patterns.”
“If I get a new brain I (at least possibly) become another person. In this sense, the brain is the only organ that cannot be donated; if you offer your brain to be transplanted into another body, you become a receiver, not a donor, of organs.”
But ultimately the professor reminds us that, at least until 2070 or so (when he predicts the first brain transplant might take place) we will just have to be patient for firm answers :
“To get one’s brain transplanted into a new body will probably be a different kind of personality change than going through an existential crisis. Maybe puberty, or pregnancy, could be helpful as comparisons when we consider what getting a brain transplant (getting your brain a new body) would be like, but these real-life examples will not get us very far. We simply have to wait for the event to take place to be able to answer the change-of-identity question.”